Russia set to return to space tourism, approves flight for Japanese tourists – The Sun Nigeria
The Russian State Commission (Roscosmos) has authorized the launch of a Soyuz-2.1, a rocket equipped with a Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft, which will carry two Japanese space tourists.
Roscosmos announced on Tuesday that Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano, as well as famous Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will depart into orbit on Wednesday.
In a statement, Roscosmos said that “the State Commission has appointed the main and backup crews of the Soyuz MS-20 manned spacecraft.
“In addition, readiness of the Soyuz-2 rocket and ground infrastructure has been confirmed for launch on December 8.”
The launch of the spacecraft with businessman Maezawa, his assistant Hirano and the Russian professional cosmonaut is scheduled for Wednesday at 10:38 a.m. Moscow time (0738 GMT).
Docking with the International Space Station will take place at 4:41 p.m. Moscow time (1:41 p.m. GTM).
The crew is scheduled to return to Earth on December 20.
Tourists will participate in the station’s science program and complete missions from the list of “100 things you want MZ to do in space!”
Merzawa and Hiran will film everything they do and upload it to YouTube.
The crew will also bring to the station New Year’s gifts for Russian crew members, accessories for their missions, as well as Japanese cuisine dishes suitable for consumption in space.
Maezawa and Hirano will become the first tourists in 12 years to fly to the ISS in a Soyuz spacecraft.
In 2001-2009, the Soyuz spacecraft delivered seven tourists to the ISS under contracts with the American space tourism company Space Adventures.
The crew twice included American contractor Charles Simonyi.
According to various sources, tourists paid between 20 and 40 million dollars for their spaceflights.
In September, Sergey Kostenko, the head of Russia’s Space Adventures office, said flying Japanese tourists on a Soyuz spacecraft would cost around $50 million.
These days, tourists can also take to space aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft or Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin New Shepard.